Be the Change!

GVAT revisedThursday, October 18, 9 am – 5 pm Congregation Emanu-El, 1461 Blanshard Street — Feeling depressed about the state of the world recently? Want to do something tangible about it at a local level? Come and learn the basic tools and philosophy of ‘broad-based community organizing’ at a workshop hosted by Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT), an alliance of 20 organizations including foundational member Congregation Emanu-El, who have committed to work together to tackle some of the toughest issues in this city. The Building Power for the Common Good workshop provides participants with an opportunity to learn how to work with their neighbors to bring about effective social and environmental justice.

The workshop scheduled for October 18, 2018 from 9 am to 5 pm will be at Congregation Emanu-El synagogue. For congregants there is no charge for the workshop. (For information about childcare/travel bursaries, contact Flossie Baker at (250) 884-1347). For registration information… 

There is a senior community organizer who is an impressive teacher coming up from Seattle for this workshop.

Themes covered in the workshop:

  • Why organize?– Examine the history, traditions, and values of our labor, faith, community and educational organizations.
  • Fundamental organizing skills– Learn tools to conduct individual relational meetings, listening sessions, research, negotiations and action to help obtain a concrete, winnable outcome.
  • Strengthening our institutions – Engage people systematically in a culture that is relational, action-oriented and reflective.
  • Problems vs. issues – Focus from general problems to concrete, winnable issues by

The Congregation Emanu-El co-ordinators for this event are Todd Litman, Andrew Gow and Ruth Schreier.

Preregistration is necessary.

 

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Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT)

GVAT imageWednesday July 18, at 7 pm — Join Rabbi Harry and others on Wednesday July 18, at 7 pm at the home of Ruthi Wicks for a GVAT Call-out and pilot listening session. Anyone interested in learning more about GVAT and/or joining the process of bringing about positive change in our community and beyond as described in the following paragraphs by Rabbi Harry is welcome.
“We live in a time of increasing polarization, anxiety and fear: a time when truth is subjective, and around the world the spectre of demagoguery rears its head. Leaders are unencumbered by facts: the most exposed and vulnerable of society are increasingly at risk.

We believe that the medicine for polarization and fear mongering is relationship building. In working for the common good we serve as partners with Divine Source to bring about tikkun olam. This is a powerful mode of resistance to demagogues.

Our congregation is a founding member of Greater Victoria Acting Together (GVAT), an alliance of faith communities, trade unions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and community organizations joined together to build strength for affecting positive change in our city, our province and our world. GVAT is based on the traditions of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), a community organizing movement founded in 1940 in Chicago based on the ideology of the American community organizer and writer Saul Alinsky, founder of modern community organizing.

GVAT is about working together towards a reality that expresses shalom, equality, sustainability and compassion. GVAT believes that strong communities are made up of strong organizations wherein sister organizations lend expertise and support to one another. Involvement in GVAT is good for our congregation. It allows us to use our unique gifts to help other organizations and offers us organizational partners to call upon for power and guidance. GVAT principles hold that strength begins by listening and knowing your community.

A challenge for us as Jews: there are organizations and trade unions that hold ideas and stances that are abrasive and alienating for us as a Jewish organization. The world of social justice is currently not always a comfortable place for us as Jews. The hope is that by working together on shared values we can forge relationships, change hearts and make a positive difference.

We want to involve you in a listening campaign. We have had opportunities to hear from many congregants about what attaches ḥaverim (members) to Emanu-El. We have heard stories of what congregants love about our congregation and what has been tricky for members in our congregation. We have listened to congregants describe their own struggles as collectively we try to understand what are the crucial problems facing our greater community and the world. Before we tally up the data from our own listening, we want to hear from you!

Please come join us.”

Rabbi Harry